Meeting Lizzie Heasman – Hysteria 2015 Judge

Lizzie’s biggest buzz has been discovering a passion for flash fiction. She finds it fascinating. To be able to construct and convey a complete story in just a few words sparks boundless possibilities for expression. Strict deadlines set in time and word count compel the writer to get to the point quickly and concisely. To the extent she now believes she may have a short story addiction, entering at least one competition every month. She’s also been a runner up in past Hysteria writing competitions.

lizzie heasmanWhat is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

The fact that I’m left handed seems to surprise most people. They can be quite close family and friends who have known me years too. Always the same reaction, ‘Ooh you’re left handed!’

Are the names of your characters important to you?

I spend some time contemplating the best name for a character. A name can often build up a strong visual image and reflect personality, i.e. busy Lizzie, plain Jane or a slack Alice. If my character is an Ethel, Chelsea, Ernie or a Kevin it’s fun to change a perspective. But in the same vein recognising regional and generational outlooks can help build true characters.

I always consider how important names are to us. Some people are extremely proud and emphasize their full name, including any middle names. Others prefer to shorten theirs whilst some choose to be known under a nick-name.

How did you choose a title for your book?

I am still in the throes of writing my first novel. The novel has developed from a short story of just two thousand words. I found I just needed to keep writing. There were too many different tangents I could follow to stop.

But the title from the original short story stuck. So, without giving too much away, my tale describes the fall and rise of a bootlegger. To keep it simple but true to the stories contents, I’ve gone with ‘A Bootleggers’ Lot’.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Everything we do could potentially produce a tale of fiction. It’s the flip we put on it that makes it interesting. I’ve overheard some wonderfully funny and entertaining stories. A favourite was listening to two mature ladies in the eye hospital discussing a piece of macramé ‘fine art’ they had picked up at a Sunday boot fair.

Another story I’ve still to write is from a nightmare. I had watched a nature programme as well as thriller on TV, all in one evening. Somehow or another I think the tales must have muddled in my restless sleep and my dreams evolved into me being trapped by lions.

I woke up before ‘the end’. It frightened the life out of me. I’m not one for horrors but hopefully I’ll be able turn it into perhaps a suspense story with a hopefully happyish conclusion.

What is your favourite TV moment of all time?

Similar to many, one of my favourite TV shows is ‘Only Fools and Horses’. There are hundreds of wonderful and hilarious moments to choose from, but I think my favourite was from ‘The Jolly Boys’ Outing’.

Del and Rodney have met up with some of the other characters in the Mardi Gras, night club in Margate. Raquel appears on stage as a magician’s assistant with the Great Raymondo.

Del is clearly a man’s man and who tries not to show weakness or emotion under any circumstance. If his guard slips he always checks himself, with a shrug of his shoulder and stretch of his neck he’s back in bloke mode.

In this scene he seems to lose all inhibition, calling out to Raquel in the middle of her performance in front of all his mates. They have already tried to disparage her by calling her ‘the stripper’. But he just doesn’t seem to care.

Del modestly declares his deep affection for her when they’re alone. Whilst the comedy genius shines through when The Great Raymondo appears and Del asks if he got his pigeons back ok!

It is not an obvious contrived romantic scene. But for me, it is one of the most tender TV moments ever. Just honest, clumsy every day love. It makes me cry nearly every time.

Finding Lizzie Heasman

You can meet Lizzie on her website at: lizzieheasman.com

I'm always interested in what people think and love having a debate so why don't we have a chat :-)

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